The History of The Country Club Swimming & Diving Association

The CCSDA is the oldest private swim league in the Washington, DC area. Originally known as the Country Club Amateur Swimming Association (CCASA), the league was founded in 1952 by Messrs. Perry Jecko (Edgemoor), Eugene Arnold (Bethesda), and Al Hobelmann (Kenwood). There were 10 original clubs (Belle Haven, Bethesda, Chevy  Chase, Columbia, Congressional, Edgemoor, Indian Spring, Kenwood, Manor and Washington Golf). The league has had a number of other clubs from time to time, but now consists of 15 clubs in three divisions and is home to more than 300 divers and 1,700 swimmers. 

The original swimming competition involved individual races in freestyle only, with medley relays and freestyle relays.  The original medley relays did not include the “orthodox breaststroke” and were, therefore, only three-length events.  From 1952 through 1970, the senior age group was 20 & Under, but that was changed to 17 & Under for the 1971 season and then again to 18 & Under for the 1982 season.

The first two CCASA swimming championships were certainly exciting and perhaps foretelling of things to come. In the 1952 championship at Congressional, Columbia had to win the final two freestyle relays to beat Edgemoor by half a point. In 1953, Kenwood and Indian Spring swam to a tie, which was then decided in Kenwood’s favor when the referee chose two 12 year-old boys, Jerry Lyman from Kenwood and Jerry Yurow from Indian Spring, to compete in a one length, winner-take-all race.  The boys swam to a dead heat on the stopwatches, but the referee ruled that the Kenwood lad had won the race.

Diving was introduced into the league for the 1960 season. Until 1970, the league championship was determined by adding the swimming and diving scores. Following the 1977 season, the league changed its name to the Country Club Swimming & Diving Association (CCSDA). 

Though the league has always provided an environment for youngsters to swim and dive without dedicating themselves year-round, the 50 years of competition have fostered six Olympic swimmers--Mary Jane Sears (Chevy Chase, 1956), Kay Knapp, Marie Gillett and Susan “Dougie” Gray (Chevy Chase, 1956), Tim Jecko (Edgemoor, 1956) and Tom Dolan (Washington Golf, 1996 and 2000).  The league also has spawned several national swimming champions and a host of collegiate swimmers and divers.  The CCSDA has been a model of parent involvement, with over 40 parents required to run a dual swimming meet and 10 parents to run a diving meet.  Finally, the league has been a training ground for some of the area’s – and the nation’s – finest swimming and diving coaches.

Age-group swimming and diving provide a unique experience for the league’s boys and girls. These are two sports where 7-year olds are teammates of 18-year olds and their first place finishes count the same amount. Dual meet competition features close races, cheering teammates and parents, and wonderful, wholesome examples of team spirit and good sportsmanship. Our annual championship events are fun-filled and pressure-packed at the same time, making for memorable experiences for all concerned.  CCSDA parents, coaches and competitors share a commitment to build on the more than 50 years of competition and to preserve the legacy of the league’s founders.